Earlier this year I set a goal for our household to stop buying and using paper towels.
It was part of my overall pursuit of a healthier and more eco-friendly lifestyle, and cutting out paper towels seemed like an easy way to eliminate some of the waste we generate.
I have said before that we will likely never be a zero waste household, but low waste is definitely achievable and something I am working toward.
Now that we are about 9 months into the year (holy moly has 2019 flown by or what?), I am here to tell you that my husband and I don’t miss paper towels or paper napkins at all.
It has been a much easier transition than I ever imagined, and I truly think it’s a lifestyle change that any household can adopt if you set your mind to it.
If eliminating paper towels from your daily routine is something you want to try, I have some tips for you to help make the transition easier and sustainable:
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Tip No. 1
Use up any paper towels or paper napkins you have, and then don’t buy more. It might seem obvious, right, breaking the habit of buying paper towels when you’re close to running out is the first step in eliminating them from your home.
Tip No. 2
Stock up on washable cloth napkins and microfiber cloths. Really, you want to do this before you completely run out of paper towels and stop buying them. Having washable napkins and microfiber cloths on hand and ready to go will make for a smooth transition.
The cloth napkins are meant to replace paper napkins or paper towels at meal times. For my husband and I, we have about 12 cloth napkin we rotate through and wash regularly. That is more than enough for the two of us. They’re nothing fancy, but they get the job done.
Microfiber towels are for replacing paper towels in your cleaning routine. It’s good to keep as many of these on hand as you can because you’re going to want to wash them after a couple of uses (to cut down on the spread of germs). I actually enjoy using microfiber towels for cleaning more than paper towels. They work so much better and don’t leave behind any lint residue (or whatever typically falls off of paper towels). I have found that they work particularly well at cleaning mirrors and windows and don’t streak them at all.
Tip No. 3
Wash regularly and always have clean towels on hand. I mentioned this above, but I want to reiterate it here in case it gets lost in the previous passage. You must wash your towels and napkins regularly so you’re not spreading germs. I typically toss mine in to wash once or twice a week (depending on how dirty they are). Always having clean towels ready to go will also keep you from wanting or needing to go out and buy paper ones.
Tip No. 4
Store your microfiber towels separately from dish rags. This is personal preference, but I don’t like to keep my cleaning towels (microfiber) in the same space as my dish rags.
Tip No. 5
Keep hand towels next to all of your sinks. Having hand towels at your bathroom and kitchen sinks will encourage your family and your guests to dry their hands using those instead of reaching for paper towels.
Tip No. 6
Do it. If this is something you’re serious about and want to commit to, just start doing it. I think you’ll find that eliminating paper towels from your home is easier than you might expect.
I hope you find these 6 tips helpful as you embark on a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Like with any lifestyle change, the important thing to remember is that baby steps lead to bigger changes over time.
What are some ways you’ve adopted a more eco-friendly lifestyle for your household? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email at email@example.com.